After eleven-year-old Addie Pray's mother dies, she travels around the South with Moses "Long Boy" Pray, the man who might be her biological father. HAfter eleven-year-old Addie Pray's mother dies, she travels around the South with Moses "Long Boy" Pray, the man who might be her biological father. He's a con man who tricks widows into buying Bibles and photographs of their deceased husbands. The sassy, smart Addie proves to be a good accomplice. They soon move on to more sophisticated swindles as they travel from Alabama to Tennessee and Louisiana.
I soon found myself cheering on Addie and Long Boy even though they were cheating people out of money during the Depression of the 1930s. They never try to swindle the very poor. Addie needs to feel that she's part of a family, and she has a vulnerability that tugs at the heart. Long Boy takes good care of Addie in his own way, although he is introducing her to a life of crime. Both Addie and Long Boy have quick minds and are fast talkers so they make a good team. Several other people also act as substitute family members that show her a part of the world that she has not experienced.
The book is written in a conversational tone in a Southern voice with Addie looking back at her younger days. The first part of the story was made into the movie "Paper Moon". Joe David Brown is a great storyteller with a good sense of humor....more
Author Kim van Alkemade was researching her own family history when she came across a purchase for wigs for eight young children who had lost their haAuthor Kim van Alkemade was researching her own family history when she came across a purchase for wigs for eight young children who had lost their hair after X-ray treatments in a New York Jewish orphanage. The powerless healthy orphans had been used in medical research to see if X-rays could shrink the tonsils. Orphan #8 is Rachel Rabinowitz, a fictional character who received the largest dose of radiation as the subject of Dr Mildred Solomon's research.
Fast forward to 1954: Dr Solomon is admitted to the hospice unit where Rachel works as a nurse. Dr Solomon's terminal bone cancer was caused by her exposure to X-rays as a radiologist. Rachel now has a serious health problem due to the intense X-rays received when she was a toddler. The book alternates between Rachel's early life and 1954 as it reveals the secrets of Rachel's past and the choices she made. Rachel confronts the doctor, hoping for an explanation and an apology. The tables are turned in 1954--Rachel is the person with power since she administers the medication, and Dr Solomon is a powerless patient in pain. Rachel has the choice of taking revenge or offering forgiveness.
We would cringe today over how large institutions treated orphans in the 1920s, but there was a huge need for orphanages during that hard economic time. The book presents many moral/ethical issues, a look at history during the Depression and World War II, the role of women in that era, and the difficulty of a same sex relationship. Orphan #8 is an interesting, thought-provoking book with book club material at the end of the book....more
Caroline Jacobs is not assertive. But when the president of the PTO belittled another member, Caroline snapped and dropped a f-bomb in the middle of tCaroline Jacobs is not assertive. But when the president of the PTO belittled another member, Caroline snapped and dropped a f-bomb in the middle of the meeting. Caroline realizes that an incident from her teens helped mold her normally passive nature. Her best friend Emily rejected her in front of all her friends so she spent her high school lunch periods by herself in the school library.
Caroline no longer wants to be an invisible person so she and her daughter Polly take a trip to Massachusetts to finally confront Emily. Along the way Caroline and Polly talk and strengthen their relationship. Caroline also has to face other important problems when she returns to her hometown.
This is a humorous novel with the underlying serious subject of bullying. In an analogy, bullying is compared to a rocket that can draw an asteroid off its course by the pull of gravitational force. "If you nudge an asteroid off course by just a tiny bit and give it enough time, it will end up in an entirely different place. Life is no different. Nudge someone one way or the next and a person's life trajectory can change forever." The author, Matthew Dicks, has been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years so he's seen plenty of bullying and understands people's emotions. He's a good storyteller who knows how to combine funny moments with heartbreaking ones to create an engaging book. ...more